BERLIN German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries accused the United States on Friday of giving up a joint approach with Europe on sanctions against Russia, warning of possible counter measures if Washington ends up fining German companies.
U.S. senators on Wednesday approved sanctions against Russia over its meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, including some on certain Russian energy projects. The U.S. move was not coordinated with European Union allies.
"I regret that the joint approach of Europe and the United States on Russia and sanctions has been undermined and abandoned in this way," Zypries told Reuters in an interview.
Zypries, a senior member of the centre-left Social Democrats, said it remains to be seen if U.S. President Donald Trump would approve the senators' proposal to sanction European firms that take part in or finance energy projects like the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
"If he does, we'll have to consider what we are going to do against it," Zypries added.
Among the firms that are involved in the Nord Stream 2 project are subsidiaries of Germany's chemicals maker BASF Group and power and gas distributor E.ON.
(Reporting by Gernot Heller and Michael Nienaber; Editing by Joseph Nasr)